8AM: Shake up your breakfast
Fibre and fertility don’t always go hand in hand, so watch those wholegrain breakfast cereals. Boffins at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the US have found that, while fibre has many health benefits, too much of it can disrupt your hormone balance and lead to irregular ovulation. ‘ Dust off your blender and opt for a banana milkshake a couple of days a week,’ says Zest nutritionist Judith Wills. ‘It’s rich in zinc, which is essential for healthy periods and ovulation.’
12.30PM: Eat a veg-rich lunch
Reach for seasonal fruit and vegetables, which are packed with the nutrients you need for reproductive health. Don’t microwave foods in plastic containers, opt for ceramic, glass or stainless steel storage jars and bowls, and cut back on canned drinks and foods. You might also want to boost your chances of a healthy conception by taking a good multivitamin. And try liver-cleansing herbs like milk thistle and agnus castus, which acts on the pituitary gland to balance follicle-stimulating hormone levels that control when your ovaries release eggs.
6PM: Step away from the treadmill
It’s not an excuse to skip the gym for a post-work drink (more than 10 tipples a week will slash your odds of conceiving to 30%), but trying for a baby is a reason to tone down your workouts. Push yourself really hard almost every day and you’ll be three times more likely to have problems than if you follow a moderate plan. ‘Hardcore exercise diverts blood to your muscles, and during your luteal phase (from day 14 to your period) you should be encouraging it to flow to the centre of your body, to aid implantation,’ says Emma Cannon, author of ‘The baby-making bible’. ‘Optimise your chances of conceiving during this phase with low-impact workouts such as yoga and swimming.’
7PM: Eat chinese
No, we don’t mean tucking into spring rolls, but rather tapping into the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach of understanding what your body needs from your diet in order to conceive. Gerad Kite, acupuncture master and director of the Kite Clinic, which specialises in treating infertility, says that your stomach has the least energy between 7pm and 9pm, when we tend to have dinner. Instead, he says, eat a protein-packed meal between 6pm and 7pm. Try one of these protein recipes ‘Fish and veg will give your body the slow-release fuel it needs to sleep deeply and regenerate overnight,’ says Gerad. ‘Over time, this helps to restore the natural balance of your endocrine system, which controls your hormones and menstrual cycle, putting you in the best state to conceive.’
8PM: Have sofa sex
Don’t wait until you flop into bed to get down to baby-making. ‘Your body has the greatest abundance of sexual secretions between 7pm and 9pm,’ says Gerad. ‘This is when it’s designed to conceive.’ And prioritise your pleasure – Robert Winston, baby-making guru and IVF pioneer, says that the vaginal contractions caused by orgasm help more sperm to enter your uterus. Well, if you insist… Ms Average has an 18% chance of getting pregnant every month… but only if she’s having sex at least three times a week. Smoking can delay your chances of conceiving by two months. Giving up is as good for your fertility as eating healthily.